Grace Stories
West End Baptist Church

Around this time last year, I was planning to join a church planter’s cohort through Leader’s Collective. Through a lot of prayer and challenging conversations, I believed planting a church in the East End of Richmond was something my family and I wanted to pursue, but more than anything I continued to feel a desire to pursue pastoral ministry. I had also been on staff at Redemption Hill Church as a Pastoral Assistant for three years, and my family and I truly enjoyed every moment gathering on Sundays, fellowshipping in community, and serving.

Right around November of last year, I was made aware that West End Baptist Church, a congregation I had preached in a handful of times, wanted to know if I would be interested in becoming their lead pastor. Although I had enjoyed the preaching opportunities and getting to know the people, and although the church was just across the street from my house, I had never considered joining especially in this capacity. My family and I had still been thinking through what it would look like to move across town, but the Lord was leading us right across the street. Since January until now, it’s been amazing to see how the Lord has drawn us to joining West End. The process has been fast, but God’s grace has been with us every step of the way.

West End Baptist Church is located in western Henrico County, the part of town that my wife and I grew up in, and the place where we currently live. Through the years we’ve become familiar with the area, made several connections with our neighbors and local organizations and we feel as though God purposefully placed us here for this reason. We’re excited about seeing the Lord continue to work at West End, especially during this season of revitalization. Our hope is to see West End Baptist become a multi-ethnic, multi-generational church that makes disciples in Richmond for God’s glory.

We’re extremely thankful for all the encouragement, prayers, and support that we’ve received from Redemption Hill Church over the last eight years! We’re still in town, so we’re still looking forward to seeing everyone and staying connected.  Our prayer for the summer is that the Lord would give the church unity through this season of change that we’re in; that the Lord would place it on the hearts of people to join with us in this revitalization process; and that my family and the families who have come with us would make a smooth transition into West End Baptist Church.

Rayshawn Graves